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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2016 Fiat 500C Abarth

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The last time I drove a Fiat 500C Abarth, it with six-speed automatic. I found it to be quite a cheeky vehicle with an exhaust note that makes you think you’re driving something a bit more powerful and a look that helped it stand out. But I couldn’t help but wonder how the Abarth is with the manual transmission. About a couple of months ago, I slipped behind the wheel of another 500C Abarth, this time with the manual. The end result was a bit of a letdown.

  • The manual transmission in question is a five-speed and it isn’t any fun to use. The throw is somewhat long and imprecise. A few times, I found myself going into the wrong gear because I couldn’t tell where I was in the gear pattern. Not helping matters is the clutch which not only has a long travel, but it isn’t easy to find the takeoff point. This is one of those vehicles where the automatic makes more sense.
  • The turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quite the performer with power coming on strong at low rpm. Engage the Sport mode and the engine becomes more spritely.
  • Some reviews criticize the 500 Abarth’s suspension for being a bit too soft for a performance model. I really don’t see that as I think the Abarth strikes a good balance between handling and ride comfort. Yes, the Abarth will show a little bit more body roll in the corners. But it doesn’t detract from the quick direction change the vehicle is able to pull off thanks to its short wheelbase. The ride is slightly bouncy over bumps, but it isn’t to the point of annoyance.
  • One area that the Abarth could use some improvement is in the steering. A little bit more road feel and weight would not be a bad thing for a performance hatch.
  • If you happen to be a shrinking violet, then pass on getting the yellow paint like on my tester. The level of ‘LOOK AT ME’ is turned up to 11.
  • Fiat will say the 500C is a convertible, but it is more of a targa - the roof rails and pillars stay up, and the canvas roof folds. But I do like that you can open or close it at speed.
  • Visibility must have a different meaning in Italian than English since the view from the rear is almost nonexistent with the top up or down.
  • The interior hasn’t changed much which is both good and bad. The good is the retro styling that adds a bit of charm. The bad are how the front seats feel like you're sitting on a stool. If there was a height adjustment for the seats or a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel, this would ok. But since there isn’t, you’ll find yourself in a somewhat awkward seating position.
  • As for pricing, the 500C Abarth with the manual begins at $26,695. With options, the as-tested price came to $31,695. The automatic if you wondering adds $1,350 to the price.
  • But there is some good news over the horizon. Fiat will be cutting prices on a number of their models for 2017, with the biggest ones coming to the 500C. It might be worth waiting for the 2017 model since a lower price could make it slightly easier to convince yourself that you can live with something that is quite small, but packs a lot of character. But be sure to go with the automatic.

 

Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 500C Abarth, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2016
Make: Fiat
Model: 500C
Trim: Abarth
Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16-Valve MultiAir Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Five-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500
Torque @ RPM: 170 @ 2,500-4,000 
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/34/30
Curb Weight: 2,545 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico
Base Price: $26,695
As Tested Price: $31,965 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)

Options:
17-inch Forged Aluminum Hyper Black Wheels - $1,400.00
Popular Equipment Package - $975.00
Beats Audio Package - $700.00
Giallo Moderna Perla (Modern Pearl Yellow) - $500.00
Nero (Black) Mirror Cap with Body Side Stripe - $450.00
Nero (Black) Trimmed Lights - $250.00


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I know some will love this little Italian Job, but for me, :puke: 

IMHO!

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1 hour ago, dfelt said:

I know some will love this little Italian Job, but for me, :puke: 

IMHO!

You and I have very different tastes in vehicles.....!:D

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28 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

32K!?!?!?! No wonder they're slashing prices!! My GTI SE w/ Perf Pkg MSRP'd for that, and it's WAY more car than this thing.

The Abarth is a deal used at 10 or 11K, which is where one can find them late model with low miles if one looks.

The GTI is an actual real automobile....

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the Abarth only excels when it's a barebones affair.

lose the ragtop, the (kinda not great) 'beats' system, superfluous equipment packages and exorbitant visual tack-ons and it becomes the perky, down n' dirty runabout it ought to be. 

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4 minutes ago, bigpoolog said:

the Abarth only excels when it's a barebones affair.

lose the ragtop, the (kinda not great) 'beats' system, superfluous equipment packages and exorbitant visual tack-ons and it becomes the perky, down n' dirty runabout it ought to be. 

Agreed....and I kind of like the car in some ways.....

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I really like the Abarth and the base turbo (IMHO, kill the base NA 4).  Give the little sucker a 6 speed, interior update, and at least new front/rear fascias and it will be a better car. 

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1 minute ago, Stew said:

I really like the Abarth and the base turbo (IMHO, kill the base NA 4).  Give the little sucker a 6 speed, interior update, and at least new front/rear fascias and it will be a better car. 

Or at the very least better build quality....

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9 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Or at the very least better build quality....

That too haha, but I don't think the thing has been updated since it first came out in Europe how many years ago now?

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28 minutes ago, Stew said:

That too haha, but I don't think the thing has been updated since it first came out in Europe how many years ago now?

Agreed!

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23 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

So many more, and better, choices for $32K. Just a whole lot of "nope" there.

At this point, the compelling arguments in the sport compact segment are the GTI and WRX....with the Civic SI a distant third.

In terms of pure sports cars, the only real game in town is the Miata below 30 or 35K....370 Z is very dated....

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4 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

At this point, the compelling arguments in the sport compact segment are the GTI and WRX....with the Civic SI a distant third.

In terms of pure sports cars, the only real game in town is the Miata below 30 or 35K....370 Z is very dated....

And I would take any of them, including the 370Z, over this. It's ugly on the outside, even uglier on the inside, and an unreliable pile of top of that. That is the perfect recipe for never getting a dime from me.

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7 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

And I would take any of them, including the 370Z, over this. It's ugly on the outside, even uglier on the inside, and an unreliable pile of top of that. That is the perfect recipe for never getting a dime from me.

Again, the only sport compacts I could see dropping a dime for would be the WRX, GTI, Miata and BRZ/86.

Everything else can just pound so much sand for all I care....even the Civic SI really really leaves a lot to be desired IMHO.

Edited by A Horse With No Name
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Just now, Stew said:

They could modifiy this platform for this

 

dodge-hornet-concept-11.jpg

There is no limit to the creative ideas they could get flowing....but it will never happen due to Sergio and a lack of interest in the US market.

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      When Toyota introduced the Prius C back in 2012, it served two purposes. It was the entry-level model for then growing Prius family (Prius, Prius Plug-In, and Prius V). Plus, it was part of a small group of vehicles that could achieve almost 50 mpg if driven efficiently. But Toyota really hasn’t made any changes to the Prius C since it was launched, only making minor changes to the feature set for the past few years. Meanwhile, the rest of the Prius lineup has undergone significant changes with models either being dropped (Prius V) or being redesigned (Prius). 
      For 2018, Toyota has decided to take the Prius C out of its deep freeze and make some changes. But is that enough considering larger hybrid models return higher fuel economy figures, and are slightly more expensive? The answer is no.
      Toyota has given the Prius C a much needed exterior update with a revised front end (new hood shape and slimmer grille), crossover-esq design touches (black wheel arches, faux skid plates, and a set of roof rails), and a set of 15-inch alloy wheels. The Prius C is one of the few Toyota models that come in a number of vibrant colors like the Tangerine Orange on this tester. It did make it look like a giant Jack-O-Lantern, but it also gave this small model some personality. The Prius C’s interior design is a bit odd. While it lacks some of the craziness found in the standard Prius (see the Storm Trooper inspired center console and stack), there are some decisions that left me scratching my head. For example, there is a storage shelf behind the steering wheel. I not sure what you can put in there aside from spare change or snacks to eat while on the move. Almost all of the materials used in the Prius C are hard plastics. Usually, I would be giving this pass considering it is a subcompact vehicle and this one of the sacrifices needed to meet the low price. But this particular Prius C has an as-tested price of $26,479. For that price, I do wish Toyota had stuck some soft-touch material to ease some of the pain on the wallet. The manual adjustments weren’t the smoothest and it took me a few days to find a position that didn’t have me constantly fidgeting around. This is disappointing considering the seat itself is nice to sit on with soft padding and decent support for long trips.  In the back seat, headroom is surprisingly good due to the tall height of the roof. Like other subcompacts, the Prius C’s rear legroom is on the tight side. All Prius Cs come with a 6.1-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Higher end models like my Four tester come with navigation. The screen is a bit on the small side, which makes it hard to hit some of the touchscreen buttons. At least the screen is easy to read and bright. One slight disappointment is the slowness of the system. Compared to other hybrid vehicles, Entune is a few ticks slower when going through the various screens. The Prius C’s hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 1.5L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder, 45 kW electric motor, Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack, and a CVT. Total output is rated at 99 horsepower. If your driving takes place mostly in urban areas, then the Prius C is a fine car. At speeds under 45 mph, the powertrain gets the vehicle moving a decent clip. But there is a fair amount of buzzing coming from the engine and CVT. On rural roads and highways, the limited performance of hybrid powertrain makes itself known as the model records a 0-60 mph of over 12 seconds. Passing is best done when there are no vehicles appearing in your eyesight. EPA fuel economy figures for the Prius C are 48 City/43 Highway/46 Combined. The figures are disappointing when you consider the likes of the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq return higher figures - 54/50/52 for the Prius and 55/54/55 in the Ioniq. My average for the Prius C was 49.6 mpg, very disappointing when compared to the 60 mpg in the Prius and 62 mpg in the Ioniq Blue I have reviewed previously. The reason for the poor fuel economy showing in the Prius C comes down Toyota not making any changes to the powertrain since its launch in 2012. Handling in the Prius C is quite surprising with excellent body control and feeling quite nimble around the corners. The low-rolling resistance tires will complain if you decide to push it. Where the Prius C shines is in an urban area where the compact size and tight turning radius make it easy to navigate tight spots. Ride quality is about average with most bumps being smoothed over. One item to be aware of is the abundance of road and wind noise. Be prepared to crank the radio up to drown out most of the road noise. We come now to the Prius C’s big problem. The base C One begins at $20,630. My Four tester begins at $24,965, which already makes it a tough sell when you consider that the larger Prius Two is only $280 less and returns higher fuel economy figures. With a couple of options and destination, the as-tested price came to $26,479. Again, you can get into larger Prius or the Hyundai Ioniq that not only offer better fuel economy figures but more features for a similar price. Gallery: 2018 Toyota Prius C Four
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Prius C, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius C
      Trim: Four
      Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive: 1.5L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i, Electric Motor, Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery Pack
      Driveline: eCVT, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 73 @ 4,800 (Gas); 60 @ 0 (Electric)
      Torque @ RPM: 82 @ 4,000 (Gas); 125 @ 0 (Electric)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 48/43/46
      Curb Weight: 2,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Isawa, Iwate, Japan
      Base Price: $24,965
      As Tested Price: $26,479 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Special Color - $395.00
      Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat - $224.00

      View full article
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